The hard way: Des Vertus savoy cabbage under the lights downstairs (planted 2/17/08)
The easy way: Rapini in the greenhouse (planted 1/12/08)
I have admitted I don’t like starting seeds indoors. Part of it’s the dirt: we work so hard to keep the dirt outside the house; it’s antithetical to our thinking to actually encourage it across the threshold of the back door. The other thing, I think, is the rush of it all. Seeds planted in the house have a very predictable trajectory of growth that means that, ready or not, these puppies will need to be outside in the sunshine in as few as 4 weeks. Like many things, though, I realize I need to just take my own advice and just “get over it.”
Looking hard, what I realized that bugged me so much is having the seed trays upstairs, in the relative (and cat-free) tidiness of the guest bedroom. It’s warm up there; warm enough for all the seeds to sprout quickly and happily. Seeds, you see, are a lot like us: we’d all prefer a nice warm bed to lie in. Many things do sprout at 35* (onions, lettuces, etc.) but they’ll sprout faster (and grow faster) at 65*. So what, I decided, if the basement is colder than the guest bedroom. The seeds will still sprout, albeit a bit more slowly. And I won’t beat myself up if I spill some dirt down there. And, really: what’s my hurry?
So I finally got some of the babies going this last weekend, having first bumped off the top shelf of canned goods in the basement to a lower shelf. I started the alliums (2 leeks, 3 onions, 1 scallion) and brassicas (2 broccoli, 3 kale, 1 cabbage). These guys can be stuck in the ground a good 2-3 weeks before the last frost. They may not like it, but they’ll get by. I think I will slow them down further by sticking them (in their pots) in the greenhouse for a couple of weeks, too, before I stick them in the ground.
Like not seeing one’s shadow, will planting flats of seeds make spring come more quickly? One can only hope. I’m becoming snow-blind.